Jim Dickinson is an American record producer, pianist and singer. He was born James Luther Dickinson in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1941, and moved to Memphis, Tennessee at an early age.
After attending school at Baylor University, he returned to Memphis and played on recording sessions for Bill Justis , and at Chips Moman's American Studios. In the late '60s, Dickinson joined with fellow Memphis musicians Charlie Freeman , Mike Utley , Tommy McClure and Sammy Creason ; this group became known as the "Dixie Flyers" and provided backup for musicians recording for Atlantic Records. Perhaps their best-known work was for Aretha Franklin's 1970 Spirit in the Dark. Dickinson also played piano on the Rolling Stones' 1969 "Wild Horses." In 1972 he released his first solo album, Dixie Fried, which was a free-wheeling mixture of songs by Bob Dylan, Carl Perkins and Furry Lewis.
In the 1970s he became known as a producer, recording Big Star's Third in 1974, as well as serving as coproducer with Alex Chilton on the rowdy 1979 Chilton album Like Flies on Sherbert. He has produced Green on Red, Mojo Nixon and the Replacements, among many others, and in 1977 an aural documentary of Memphis' Beale Street, Beale Street Saturday Night, which featured performances by Sid Selvidge, Furry Lewis and Dickinson's band Mud Boy and the Neutrons. He has also worked with Ry Cooder and with Dylan.
His sons Luther and Cody played on his 2002 solo effort Free Beer Tomorrow; they have achieved success in the North Mississippi All-Stars.
Jim Dickinson is one of a long line of eccentric and highly quotable Memphians; as he explained to an interviewer in 1992, "If you're not in the recording studio you might as well not do it, because you might get it. And if you get it, hell stop. Because it's not a question of how well you play, it's a question of how well you play once."